Sunday, December 25, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS - It's a Christmas Miracle...

Our Christmas came a day early since we got to skype with Jordan yesterday (it was Christmas in Japan).  We had a great time being able to see and hear her and learn about everything that is in her email a day early.  I'm soooo excited about the baptism she has scheduled.  I believe I mentioned this in one of the first blog posts when she got to Sado but I'll say it again - there have been 3 baptisms in Sado in the 22 years it's been open to missionary work yet the church has kept it open because the worth of a soul is great in the sight of God.  There will now be 4 baptisms after Yamaji San is baptised - Jordan has such a great spirit and has worked really hard to try to find people to teach.  I'm so happy she is having this blessing.

It really is the most wunderful time of the year!!

Yamaji San is getting baptized!! 
Yamaji San is progressing so fast!! We shared a scripture over the phone when we were in Niigata and asked her if she would read 1 Nephi 11. She told us she would and that she was praying for our safety on the ferry ride home the next day. We had a lesson with her in Thursday night when we got home from Niigata. We asked her if she had read the chapter we gave her and she said she read from 1 Nephi 1-11! She read 11 chapters in one night!!! She had really good questions about it too so it was really nice that we had a member there for that lesson because my Japanese is not nearly good enough to explain answers to her in depth questions. We ended the lesson by extending a baptismal invite and she said yes!!! YAMAJI SAN IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON JANUARY 14!! She wrote it down in her little planner and asked us what time and everything!! We had a lesson with her again on Friday and she read 7 more chapters in the Book of Mormon. She came to church on Sunday and we had a short lesson with her after church and we weren't going to have a lesson at night since it was Christmas, but she asked us if we could! So we had a short lesson with her at night and she prayed out loud for the first time (she just likes praying by herself because she's scared she'll mess up), but she did it and it was one of the most sincere prayers I've ever heard. I am so excited for her and have already seen a change in her because of the gospel.

Making Japanese doors:
Reimi San, our English club student, invited us to a really cool service opportunity on Friday. She picked us up from the church and we went to a vacant house and refurbished some sliding doors. Apparently, there are over 3000 vacant/abandoned houses on sado and she wants to work on them and make it so people can buy and live in them again. So we went to this really old, super traditional Japanese house and we refurbished 5 sliding doors. They kind of had a stained glass effect because we put paper behind it (pictures below). They looked way fun and cute and it was a really cool service opportunity. 

Branch Christmas party: 
We had a little Christmas party on the 23rd and it reminded me of a family party I would have back home. Everyone brought food and we all sang and ate a ton. Reimi San also came and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and we committed her to read some of it. 

Christmas in Japan:
The traditional Japanese Christmas dinner is fried chicken (specifically KFC) and cake. I guess that's what they think Americans eat for Christmas although my family definitely didn't have fried chicken for Christmas dinner. Sister Boden realized she had choclate cake mix and I realized that I had chicken so we figured we would make a traditional Japanese Christmas dinner. We fried the chicken and baked the cake and had them for dinner. It was delicious!! We also made gingersnap cookies which taste just like Christmas. My real highlight though was skyping my family! It was so amazing seeing all of their faces and hearing their voices. I'm so grateful for their continuous love and support. 

I'm so happy to be in Japan during this time a year and I'm so happy to be a missionary!! I love this time of year. I'm so thankful for everyone in my life and I'm so grateful for my Savior and Heavenly Father I saw a ton of little miracles this week and I know it's all thanks to my Heavenly Father. I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and have an amazing New Year! 

Word of the week:
Word: oishii 
Meaning: delicious
Pronunciation: oi-she (not really sure how to say it phonetically, so good luck)

1. We went to the Sado gold mine and this bar of gold was so heavy, I couldn't pick it up at all!!
2. Yamaji San and she gave us little Christmas presents 
3. What a good looking fam I have
4. Reimi San and our doors we made!! It's called shoji 
5. Got my fam and the tissues ready haha 
6. I'm making the fried chicken and Boden shimai is making the chocolate cake 
7. Our gingersnap cookies!! 
8. Two of the doors we made!! 

I second Jordan's gratitude and sincerely thank you for your support via emails, prayers, snail mail or just a thought.  I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year and an awesome 2017.  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Toilet Paper Comic Books and Sister Jordan Wunderli's 20th Birthday - IN JAPAN!!

My beautiful daughter turned 20 this week.  Who would have ever guessed that she would be celebrating it on the island of Sado in Japan?  I'd like to see what odds Vegas would have had on that one.  She loves her new companion and they had some good things happen this week which is making me excited for her because I know she's been working hard.  This is one of my favorate emails and it has lots of great pictures.  Enjoy.

Thank you everyone who wished me a happy birthday!! It means a lot. I'm 20 now which means I'm officially an adult according to Japan laws. I loved having my birthday on my little island of Sado and I'm so happy to be here!!

So we were in Aikawa this week and we did some housing and tried to find some old potential investigators, but we weren't having any luck with either. When we were at the bus stop we saw what we thought was an earlier bus so we got on and ended up getting on the wrong bus. Instead of it taking the normal 25 minutes to get home, it took us an hour. But it was meant to be because we sat next to this girl and we started talking to her and she wants us to help her with English. We actually helped her a little right there because she had her English textbook with her. We set up an appointment with her for next Saturday at the church!! This is the first Eikaiwa student on Sado that's actually young and in school so it was a huge miracle for us and Sado.

I'm no longer a teenager woohoo!!
I had a great birthday on Sado! An eternal investigator called us and wanted to take us out to lunch for my birthday so we went to my favorite restaurant. We tried to talk to her about baptism and she said that she believes in the church but she would never get baptized because of how restricting it didn't really end up the way we had hoped, but it's okay, everyone has their agency. For my birthday dinner, Sister Boden made me American brownies which it had been awhile and I loveeeee brownies so it was amazing. We went to Eikaiwa and they all sang to me and the two ward members that came brought me some homemade bread!

Yamaji San:
She became an official investigator this week!! On Monday, we went to volleyball club with her and after it was finished, I gave her a Book of Mormon and talked to her about how this book came from God through prophets. I told her it was true and that I marked some of my favorite scriptures in it for her to read. She came to FHE (Family Home Evening) on Friday and said that she read a little bit of the Book of Mormon, but it was hard, so we told her we would read it with her and help her to understand it. Then she came to church on Sunday (this was her second time) and we taught her a lesson on the word of wisdom in gospel principles class. We asked her if she would keep it and she said it was really hard to change, but that she would try!! We are meeting with her again on Tuesday, and I'm so excited with how well she's progressing.

Funny things:
•When we were in Aikawa these old men came up to us and gave us toilet paper (I never appreciated free toilet paper until my mission haha) and when we got home we looked at it and it has comics on the entire thing Haha
•We went caroling a ton this week when we were going housing and the reactions were priceless, one old man opened the door and then slowly shut it, and an old lady opened the door and then gave us some fruit, and another old lady opened the door and wasn't wearing any pants!!
•I had strawberries for the first time since being in japan because they are so expensive here and a member bought us some (they are $8 for a little thing of strawberries).
•Yamaji san gave me two birthdays presents. One was a cat mug because I swear everyone on Sado is obsessed with cats!! Then the second one was wine which I obviously couldn't accept. It looked like a pretty nice bottle of wine so it was a little awkward when I told her we don't drink any alcohol.. but she understood. Kind of why we taught the word of wisdom on Sunday haha.

Word of the week:
Word: kibou
Pronunciation: key-bow
Meaning: hope
Wunderli Shimai

1. Our Christmas tree
2. Toilet paper comics
3. The brownies she made me and the banner she put up
4. This cool thing we found on p day, I'm not sure what it is
5. Cool thing part 2
6. Another p day find
7. Our new Eikaiwa student!!
8. Yumeka chan (a kind of investigator)
9. My favorite Eikaiwa class ever
10. Cool thing part 3
11. Always representing the U!!

As always, thanks for your emails, letters, thoughts, prayers and anything else you do for our Jordan.  It means the world to her and to us.  If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to share them.  Have a very Merry Christmas - her next blog post will be on Christmas evening.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Agents, Not Secret Agents

It was transfer-week and Sister Jordan Wunderli spent more than half of the week in Niigata.  She was with a number of different missionaries while she was there because of the timing of various transfers.  She is settled and pushing forward with "Agent" Boden.  Check out this week's episode of Sado:  It's Freaking Cold Here.  :)

This week was a little crazy and boring so bare with me for this email...

Psych my new area is Niigata (jodan):
I basically spent the whole first week of this transfer in Niigata. I was there from Tuesday until Friday!! Transfers were moved from Wednesday to Thursday, but me and Call Shimai still had to go to Niigata on Tuesday because Domino Shimai (Niigata Sister) was going to be alone since her companion went home this transfer. So, we were in a sannin (3 person companionship) on Wednesday. Call Shimai left on Thursday morning, along with Kema Shimai's companion so we were in another sannin on Thursday (me, Kema Shimai, and Domino Shimai). Since Kema Shimai was my MTC companion, it was really fun to Dendo with her!! We got banana hot chocolate from a vending machine which was way good and I'm so thankful Japan has a hot chocolate in vending machines because it is freaking freezing here.

New companion:
I met my new companion, Sister Boden, on Thursday night and she's super nice! She tells people she's from Arizona, but she's actually from all over since her dad is in the military. She's a 10th transfer missionary so she's going to be teaching me a lot!

Zone meeting:
On Friday, we had zone meeting where I met my new district and the new missionaries in our zone. A ton of people got transferred this transfer so it was fun meeting some new people. Our zone vision this transfer is "are we not all agents?" Because they really want us to think for ourselves. Agency was one of the greatest gifts God gave us and we need to use our agency and not be water bottles (act, don't be acted upon). I gave a training on White Christmas - every area set goals of how many baptisms they will see by Christmas with their branch - and I talked about loving the people and seeing them as our brothers and sisters, not just white Christmas goals. Everyone threw out good ideas on how we can show better love for our investigators.

Ogi Eikaiwa:
For my first full day back and Sister Boden's first day in Sado we went to Ogi to teach Eikaiwa. We worked a lot on pronunciation, specifically the "R" and "L" sounds because Japanese people can't really tell them apart. They were doing pretty good with it by the end! The bummer is since they own an alcohol shop they said they are super busy until January 14 because of the holidays. They want to continue the Eikaiwa classes then, but not until then.

Hitotsumatsu Shimai:
Hitotsumatsu Shimai is a very faithful member and she lives in Ogi so whenever we go to ogi we try and visit her. She's never been to the temple because it's so far and she has a hard time just walking. We always do a little temple prep with her and this week we set a date for her to go to the temple!! February 2 she wants to go to the Tokyo temple so we're going to try everything to make that happen.

Word of the week:
Japanese: jodan
Meaning: joke
Pronunciation: jo-dawn

Wunderli Shimai

1. Bus selfie with two girls we met from Tokyo
2. My area!! Jk
3. Companion selfie with Sister Boden
4. Ogi Eikaiwa class selfie
5. Last dinner with Call Shimai, conveyer belt sushi

There you have it.  Jordan was only with her new companion for a couple of days this week and with all of the traveling they didn't get to do a lot of stuff together.  I'm hoping that next Sunday's email will have a lot of great stories about the progress they are making on Sado.

I'm guessing she didn't break her record in the number of plates of sushi she ate or she would have mentioned that - LOL.  It's her birthday on Wednesday - 12/14/2016 so if you have a minute, a happy birthday email with a short message would be a fantastic gift and she would absolutely love it: or on her facebook page at Sister Jordan Wunderli.

Please feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions in the comment section.  Thanks for your support via prayers, emails, letters, or positive thoughts.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's Transfer Time and Sister Jordan Wunderli is Going to...

SADO.  Yes.  That's right.  She's STAYING in Sado while her companion and both elders are leaving the island for the main island of Japan, Honshu.  Next week's email will be a fun one because we'll get to hear about her new companion and how everything is progressing on Sado with the new "team."  Jordan was excited to stay because she's hoping to see more development before she leaves.

Some very positive things happened this week and she shared lots of great stuff in her email along with some interesting pictures.  Without further ado, here is Jordan's email.

Wow! I swear it was October yesterday and now it's December! It's really cold which is making me really grateful for the heated toilet seats here... but anyway, time is flying!! I'm now a 3rd transfer missionary. Yes, that's right, a THIRD TRANSFER!! So everyone on Sado is transferring except for me! My new companion is Sister Boden and I hear that she's a boss so I'm soooooo stoked to meet her. Transfers are on Wednesday, but we go to Niigata on Tuesday. I'm so stoked for this transfer!!!

Store Eikaiwa in Ryotsu:
I love the ladies that come to store Eikaiwa soooo much. They always come to class with English questions and just love to learn. At the end of the class, one lady said, in English, "I wish we could meet everyday!!" We taught them "the" and "a" today which was pretty hard to explain, but they requested it. The more I teach English, the harder I realize it is! They also asked us if we go to college or work while we are on our missions so we got to explain to them that we are full-time volunteer missionaries. We don't get paid for doing this. They were so amazed. Then they asked how long we have been there and when we told them only 2 (6 for Call shimai) months they were so surprised at how good our Japanese was. I feel like this Eikaiwa will open doors and I'm so excited to see where it goes!!

English Club:
Reimi San came to English club again!! We had fun talking to her again. We talked about our thoughts on tourism on Sado and she loved it. She said next English club, she's going to bring her husband!! She also gave us a huge bag of fruit to take hahaha.

Store Eikaiwa in Ogi:
Two new people came to Eikaiwa this week, so we ended up teaching 5 people! It was funny because we teach Eikaiwa in an alcohol/tobacco store and the owner offered us tea so we had to explain that we don't drink tea, then she offered us coffee so we had to explain that we don't drink coffee. Then, the asked if we drink alcohol and we said no. They were all in shock. They asked us if the only thing we can drink is water. We told them no, and then started to talk about the word of wisdom, but they didn't really care about that haha. So, we taught them some English. We taught them some directional words and how to give directions in English. They loved it!

Brazil Night:
What a success!! One of the Elders in my district is from Brazil so we had a Brazil night in honor of him. It worked out because one of his investigators is also from Brazil and was happy to help with some real, authentic Brazilian food. We had something called "feijoada" which was meat, beans, rice, this salad stuff, and this yummy powder stuff. There were bones in with the meat, and the weirdest thing was you could eat the bones! It was actually way good, though. Two high school girls came which is an absolute miracle because that has never happened before. I was able to talk to them for a little and one of them added me as a friend on Facebook and then asked if she could take a picture with me! So we're basically BFFs. One of our investigators, Yamaji San (she came to girls' night a couple weeks back), came and she had so much fun. She was taking pictures and talking with everyone! I asked if she would come to church and she said yes! Towards the end of the activity, the Elders' Brazilian investigator and his family played some traditional Brazilian music with the Brazilian instruments! It was so cool! I felt like I was a missionary in Brazil for a little while haha.

Yamaji San came to church!!
And she stayed for the whole 3 hours! During the second hour, we were able to do a douseki lesson (member-present) with her. We talked a little about the plan of salvation, faith, baptism, and prayer. We had two members in the lesson with us and they were able to tell her their conversion story and to just talk to her. At the end of the lesson, Call Shimai asked her if she could pray and she goes, "I don't know how to pray! It's hard!" And then jokingly I said, "I don't know nihongo (Japanese), but I'm trying!" Everyone busted out laughing, but it worked and she prayed to end the lesson.

Funny Story:
While Call Shimai and I were waiting for the bus, we talked to a lady. We talked about who we are and why we are living on Sado. Then she asks if we were married to each other!!! We immediately looked at each other in horror and said no!!! We had a good laugh after that and we're also thankful we actually understood what she was saying because how bad would it have been if we just nodded our head and said yes!!

Word of the week:
Word: yorokobi
Pronunciation: yo-row-ko-be
Meaning: joy

Wunderli Shimai

1. Real authentic Brazilian food 
2. The high school friends that came to Brazilian night
3. There was stuff growing inside this house too!!
4. My new ride
5. Aikawa
6. The district 
7. Sushi in a bowl
8. A shrine in Aikawa 
9. A house we saw while housing
10. Aikawa!!

As always, thanks for your prayers, thoughts, emails and letters.  We all appreciate them very much.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them in the comments section or reach out to me.